Everton prepare for their next big challenge on the road to Premier League survival as they host Leicester City at Goodison Park.

Everton enjoyed a weekend without any football as Frank Lampard would have taken the time to prepare the team for their clash with Leicester City. The Toffees have been struggling all season and are yet to manoeuvre themselves towards safety in the Premier League.

They did come out as surprise winners against Manchester United in their last league fixture, to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Everton sit in the 17th spot, three points ahead of Burnley, and have a game in hand. However, they still have plenty of work to do before breathing a sigh of relief.

Everton need to get positive results on board against teams outside of the top six as they still have plenty of challenging games ahead. There are fixtures against Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal yet to be played for the Merseysiders, making the games against the ones like Leicester City hugely important.

Leicester had been in impressive form until last weekend when they faced Newcastle United. Bruno Guimaraes was the hero after netting both of Newcastle’s goals, with the second one coming in the last minute of second-half stoppage time.

Before that, in the week that passed, the Foxes beat PSV Eindhoven away from home to book their place in the UEFA Europa Conference League semi-finals. They will now face Roma at the end of the month in the first leg at home, although Brendan Rodgers will have to switch his attention towards domestic action before that.

There is hardly anything left to play in the Premier League for the Foxes, although Rodgers will use it as a platform to keep his players sharp. His focus will be on the continental tournament though, but it will be important for Leicester to build momentum with wins in the upcoming matches.

Team News & Tactics

Everton

Everton will be without the services of Tom Davies, Nathan Patterson and Andros Townsend for the midweek clash. Frank Lampard does have a few returning players to boost the Toffees’ chances against the Foxes. Yerry Mina is pencilled in to make a return to the squad.

Mina has been out for a while, thus missing crucial games for the club. Lampard will be boosted by the Colombian’s availability with the central defence being a problem area for Everton this season. The manager may be cautious about involving him soon, as the centre-back could be an option for the weekend’s clash against Liverpool.

Donny van de Beek, who has missed the last two games through injury and illness issues, is also back in contention for Everton. There are question marks about whether Lampard uses the Dutchman in his midfield, although one player who impressed in the middle was Fabian Delph. The former Man City star will play only for the second time since Lampard came in.

Other than that, Lampard will retain most of the team that beat Manchester United. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Anthony Gordon will continue their partnership in a front three, while Allan and Alex Iwobi could support Delph in central midfield.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Mykolenko; Allan, Delph, Iwobi; Gordon, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

Leicester City

Brendan Rodgers will be wary of his team’s physical condition as the Everton clash will be their fifth game in 12 days. So many matches in a short space may have a bearing on team selection as the manager would not want to risk unwanted injuries, especially considering the team’s prospects in the Conference League.

Leicester already have five confirmed absentees in Wilfred Ndidi, Danny Ward, Ryan Bertrand, Jamie Vardy and Boubakary Soumare. From the Newcastle clash, Rodgers does not have fresh concerns, although there could be changes, particularly to the attacking side of the team.

Harvey Barnes, Kelechi Iheanacho and James Maddison could return to the lineup. Ayoze Perez could drop back to the bench as a result, while Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall could resume his role in the attacking midfield slot.

Youri Tielemans, who played in a slightly advanced role against Newcastle, could slot into the double pivot alongside Nampalys Mendy. Jonny Evans could replace Daniel Amartey in defence, although Caglar Soyuncu could keep his place at the back. There could also be a change at left-back with Timothy Castagne likely to replace Luke Thomas.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Soyuncu, Evans, Castagne; Tielemans, Mendy; Maddison, Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes; Iheanacho

Key Stats

  • Everton are unbeaten in the last three games against Leicester City in the Premier League.
  • Everton have won their last two games on the bounce in the Premier League.
  • Everton are three points off the relegation zone, sitting in 17th place with 28 points.
  • Leicester City have failed to win nine of their last ten away matches in the Premier League.
  • Leicester City have been unbeaten in five of their last six games in all competitions.

Player To Watch

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

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After a terrific season under his belt last time out, Calvert-Lewin has had a dip in form this term, with injury problems making matters worse. Despite being coined as one of the top English forwards, the Everton man has not scored a league goal since August.

Having battled back from injury issues, Calvert-Lewin has started the last four games. But he needs to hit his stride and find his goalscoring boots to boost to Everton’s chances of surviving from the plight of relegation.

Prediction

Everton 1-1 Leicester City

Leicester City have different priorities than Everton, with Brendan Rodgers’ men focused on matters in the Conference League. It’s not to say they will be performing below the required level or field a weakened squad. But there’s every chance the manager will be cautious with his approach in league games. The Toffees have a bigger fish to fry as they stare at an unprecedented relegation fight.

Everton may remain out of the danger zone irrespective of what happens against the Foxes, although in the context of the remaining games this season, Lampard’s men need to put together a string of impressive results to achieve safety. However, victory might elude them on Wednesday, with this game likely to end in an eventful draw.

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